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Archive for February 2010

Private Sorrow – Part 1 “The Funeral”

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Private Sorrow


Martyn Ballestero

“A short journal about adult children dealing with the final days of their parent’s life.”

This was written for the benefit of my immediate family. Knowing that it was impossible for us all to go and see Dad as he began to near the end, I thought it important to chronicle these events. No matter how mundane, I wanted to remember everything. Much can be lost over the years in the relating of experiences by word of mouth. So I wanted to record things big and small as they happened and as I saw them.

Table of Contents

The Funeral                  Part 1

The Fear                        Part 2

The Flight                     Part 3

With Dad                      Part 4

Day-By-Day                  Part 5

Epilogue                        Part 6

Part 1

The Funeral

The audience is solemn faced and quiet as the musicians do their best to play a comforting hymn. I stand at the head of the casket. Friends and neighbors have just paid their last respects in single file. All eyes are on the family as they stand. They are broken and tearful as they mouth their final farewells. Shoulders are heaving. They cling to each other for support.

As the pastor, I know I need to go and try to comfort them, especially the especially the widow. Somehow, I’m frozen in place. My head says to go, but my body is not responding.

Bro. Lee Silver, a faithful and well-loved member of the congregation lies in a beautiful casket beside me on the left. He had lived a good life. He was a worshipper and a pastor’s friend. His dear wife had nursed him through a bout with cancer. With that seemingly behind him, he then found himself dealing with what was symptomatic of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The final report from the doctor said, “Jacob Crutchfield’s Disease.” I’d never heard of that before.

In the hospital room a few weeks prior, Sister Silvers and her oldest daughter told me about the dark side of the disease. Among others, they’d listed:

  • Confusion.
  • Loss of memory. Especially short term.
  • Involuntary shaking or jerking of the limbs.
  • Degrees of hallucination.
  • Talking to non-visible people
  • Picking up imaginary objects and moving them.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Inability to swallow with ease.
  • Just eating a bite or two a day of solids.
  • Pursing lips at food, fluids, or pills.
  • Dehydration.
  • Not recognizing family members.
  • Inability to properly void fluids.
  • Closing of the eyes most of the time, even when someone is talking to them.
  • Vacant look in opened, yet unseeing eyes.
  • Incoherent mutterings and ramblings.
  • Voice loss. Communicating in whispers, quiet whispers at best.

“Oh no God,” I remember thinking. These symptoms fit my father to a tee. He’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and severe prostate problems. They feared it might be cancer. And now, Mom was waiting for the report to come back on Dad’s Bone Marrow test.

It seemed that whatever symptoms Bro. Silvers had, in about a 3-4 weeks, Daddy would have the same problem. It became scary and almost prophetic.

Two weeks ago, while in the hospital, Bro. Silvers had quit opening his eyes to talk to visitors. He couldn’t or wouldn’t swallow. Malnutrition and dehydration had become a serious issue. Next came the transfer to a nursing home. Within a week, it was like the Lord had said, “That’s enough.” He sent for Bro. Silvers, relieving him of his struggle. My wife, Marcia and I had heard the nurse tell Sis. Silvers that, “The Lord has just taken your husband home.” We hadn’t wanted to intrude too deep or too long into the family’s private grief. It was sweet how the Lord had allowed us to be there when we were needed.

I looked at Sis. Silvers now. She stood looking down at her husband. Her eyes were red and wet. Her hands nervously worked new creases into her freshly ironed hanky. My wife had materialized beside me, available to help minister. The funeral director, a fine young man, had gone to the widow’s side, his arm around her giving her support. He was doing my job. I felt very guilty, but still I couldn’t seem to bring myself to respond to her need.

My ears alerted me back to reality. I could tell that the organ was playing alone. The piano had stopped. Why? Then without turning my head, I knew why. The sobs of the piano player were deep and heart wrenching. Yet I knew she wasn’t mourning like that for Bro. Silvers. She was deep in her own private sorrow.

I knew immediately why the pianist was crying. I knew because she’s my sister, Carlene Branham. I wanted to cry with her. I felt just like she did. I made myself maintain composure. We had to finish this service. Our personal pain couldn’t be allowed to be so transparent, now.

With the help of the Lord we all escorted our departed friend and brother to his final earthly abode, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.  I couldn’t find my Minister’s “Star” Book, so I was compelled to make all of my remarks from heart and the “committal” from memory. The congregation stood around the gravesite and sang: “In The Sweet Bye And Bye.”

As we left the cemetery in the funeral car, I felt a sense of foreboding. Not even the lighthearted conversation from the funeral director helped. I had to go home and pack. My flight to California was early in the morning. Tomorrow, I’d be with Mom and Dad.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 9, 2010 at 11:24 am

Posted in Family, Grief, Life

Private Sorrow – Part 2 “The Fear”

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Part 2

The Fear

I’d seen them just two months ago. We’d all been there for their 50th Anniversary; my sisters Carlene, Ramona and Nila, and their families. Dad wasn’t doing very well then. But recently it had gotten worse. A lot worse. Mom wasn’t her cheerful self. Her voice sounded awful close to the breaking point on the phone these past several months. Sometimes she’d vented her pain with tears. Then she’d apologize as if she’d done something wrong or shown a weakness of some kind.

Mom always prayed early in the morning. Sometimes when I called I could still hear the sounds of left-over prayer in her voice. Prayer had always come easy for Mom. Now it was even easier.

Daddy the Pastor, Evangelist, Bible Teacher, Conference, Camp Meeting Speaker and Author was revered and honored by most all who knew him. Over fifty years in the ministry spent burning the candle at both ends. Some years, he had preached more sermons than there were days in the year. These were things we remembered about our Dad. But now, that’s what they seemed. Just memories.

They’d lost their home. The generosity of Bro. Fletcher, Bro. Frazier and the precious Fontana, CA. saints had provided them with a house they could stay in, Bro. Bill Buie and the wonderful saints from Hollywood, FL had given them a new car. How grateful I felt that others had been able to do things that I wasn’t able to do for Dad and Mom. I’ve always felt guilty about that.

The generosity of the sweet people I pastor had made itself manifest just three days before. After service Wednesday night, an announcement was made and everyone responded. They gave me an offering to buy a ticket to go see my Dad. I bought it the next day.

Why was I dreading to see my Dad? It was totally a new emotion for me. I felt guilty. I’d never felt a sense of (Could I dare say it?) dread before. I was having a very tough time processing in my emotions all the horror stories of disease and ageing that I’d received from home. How in the world was Mom able to cope? The worst they said I could imagine, was happening.

Bless Mom. My worst fears nagged at me. I could stay ten (10) days. I didn’t want to see the “worst that could happen.” I just wanted to see Daddy.

The travel agent had said, “Mister, we can save you lots of money if you care to book a flight fourteen days in advance.” I responded that I might not have two weeks. I want my Dad to know me, and money can’t buy that.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 9, 2010 at 11:19 am

Posted in Family, Grief, Life

Private Sorrow – Part 3 “The Flight”

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Part 3

The Flight

“Southwest, flight #1381 from Chicago to Phoenix shuddered through the overcast clouds. I shuddered too. All the kisses, well wishes and waves were now memories. I was on a plane with a sense of loneliness.

As a pastor, it’s normal to spend your life supporting and comforting the flock. Today, it seems like some of my streets only run one way. I go to the hospital, nursing home, or wherever for others. No one is here for me. I guess that’s the lot of a minister. Everyone feels he’s strong enough or knows all the right words. Pastors are human. They can hurt too. I’m surprised that not many have figured that out yet.

I guess I’m in the middle of a pity party. I feel tears wanting to come. I must be a big baby. Mom needs me to be strong for her. Today, I don’t feel strong. Where’s this special strength from the Lord that I preach about? Where? Where is it found?

Somehow the roles between parent and child change over the years. I used to be dependant upon Mom and Dad for everything. Now they look to me, the first born, to make decisions for them. I don’t relish the thoughts of making mistakes with their lives.

Tears of fear fall silently. I’m paranoid. I know Daddy won’t look like he did a couple of months ago. He weighs 142 lbs. Mom said. He loses 2-4 pounds every week. Mom needs some time off. Maybe I can help.

She needs to get out of the house. Nurses from Hospice come by and check on him. We haven’t allowed the word “nursing home” to be mentioned yet.

Numbly I mutter a silent prayer, “God help me today, it seems unfair that I help others and there is no one to help me. Who’s going to give me what I need?”

“I am.” The Lord seemed to impress upon me.

The flight is “Open Seating”. Two fresh-faced young people ask to sit by me. Newlyweds. They’re a darling couple. They just got married yesterday. As they sit beside me the talk of their honeymoon plans and new home and jobs in a new state.

They took turns reading aloud from the Bible, their Sunday School lesson and the book ‘One Plus One Equals One”. I watch their excitement with life grow. Fingers point to interesting sites on the ground below. This was their first flight. I felt a twinge. While life was coming to an end in one place, it was just starting here. I wished them the best.

I had listened to Sis. Nona Freeman’s tape about “I Am My Beloved’s And He Is Mine.” She spoke of giving thanks in all things. Her husband had a car wreck and was severely injured. Instead of praying desperately, she had simply said something like, “God, I thank you my husband had a wreck and is near death.” Amazingly, God had given them a miracle.

I thought I’d try that approach. “Lord, I thank you that my Father has Alzheimer’s and is dying.” I sat there a minute. “Lord, it sounds sarcastic when I say it. I’m sorry.” I guess that scripture don’t work for me.

I changed planes at Phoenix. I now sat on Flight #386 to Ontario. Once we were off the ground, I looked up at the “call” button. “Passenger in 10-D needs your help Lord.”

My writing is interrupted by the voice of the flight attendant as she leans over my seat. Carol, a grandmother of a 9 year old, speaks in her soft Texas drawl.

She said, “pardon me sir, but two people have noticed you writing and we’ve decided that you must be an author or writer of some kind. If I might be so bold as to ask, What are you writing about? I want to know too”

I tried to explain in my best “Reader’s Digest Version.” Tears welled up in her eyes. She let them fall. Still clutching her tray she stood there for five minutes or more. She consoled me, telling me of her experiences with her parents dying with Alzheimer’s and how she made it through. I couldn’t believe it. She, a total stranger, was ministering to me. Like He’d done for Elijah, The Lord had sent a “Raven” to minister to my needs, even at 33,000 feet. I felt better.

On leaving, she said her aged Grandmother had once said, “I don’t want to be a blessing. I want to die before I am a blessing.” When I asked what she meant, she said, “You know when someone is sick and lingers a long time, how they always say that it was a ‘blessing’ when they die?” She said, “I don’t want to be a blessing.”

We both chuckled. I told Carol that she was a credit to the airline she represented, and thanked her for caring.

We landed without incident in Ontario. Upon disembarking, I told her that she was a treasure and thanked her again. Standing at the door by the pilot, she threw open her arms and said, “Come here, I wanta give ya a hug.”

She did. (I hoped the Lord and Marcia understood.) I looked out of the plane onto the ground below. My Mother stood behind the fence waiting for me. I walked down the stairs to the tarmac, out in the open air. Mom started waving her arms. Her hug was long, tight and emotional. I was glad to be here. It felt like home.

During the car trip to the house, I read a few excerpts from the pages I’d written. Mom’s driving became erratic as her vision blurred and she fumbled for a tissue. We both had a little cry.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 9, 2010 at 11:17 am

Posted in Family, Grief, Life

Private Sorrow – Part 4 “With Dad”

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Part 4

With Dad

I brought my luggage inside and deposited everything in the living room. I didn’t know where Mom wanted me to stay. The friends that had stayed with Dad while Mom picked me up, excused themselves and left.

I walked down the long hall to the bedroom. No ‘nursing home’ smells. I was greatly relieved. The bathroom had a handicap frame around the stool. A red wheel chair stood at ready. A folded walker was in the corner. The hospital bed was elevated.

Dad laid there in his favorite blue pajamas. They were a gift from Carlene. His face was hollow. His eyes were sunken greatly into his noble brow. His mouth was kind slack and his upper teeth dropped down looking quite scary.  He smiled. He had recognized me. His hand reached for mine. I took it in mine. I hugged and kissed him. Relief settled over me. Thank you Lord. Even this much is a gift!

Daddy could only speak in whispers. I had to lean over him to hear, and even then I only got parts of what he said.

Daddy perked up. Mom was elated. The table was set for three. Dad wanted to eat with me. He scooted down the hall hanging onto Mom as she walked backwards supporting him. Three times during the meal, dad had to get up and go to the bathroom. His prostate complicated the process. All the trips were unprofitable. He didn’t seem to stay seated but for a few minutes (sometimes seconds) at a time.

The trips back and forth were drawn out and tedious. The result was I ate most of my meal alone. Mom has the patience of Job. Dad is walking today, sometimes even unassisted. “I can’t believe it,” Mom says.

He stands with his shoulders stooped over. His 6’1” frame once stood tall and noble. Now he seems like he’s six inches shorter. The way he slumps when he stands seems uncomfortable and precarious. He shuffles his feet, push one ahead of the other, inches at a time. I hurt looking at him. His expressions seem starry-eyed and distant. His voice is still barely audible.

I have to run to the store down the street. When I get home 20 minutes later, Mom is elated. Dad wanted to pray. Mom had been playing the piano. He’d come up behind her, touching her shoulders, and suggested the have prayer together. Mom said he prayed good and spoke in tongues a good while. She is so happy. “You know, from time to time Daddy says he see angels,” she said.

Daddy sat in his wheelchair facing me. He spoke. He spoke in a whisper. His posture was pitiful. He kept fidgeting and changing his leg positions. He’s uncomfortable and it shows. His deep-set eyes search and finally find me.

He says, “I want to give you a charge.”

I nod and say, “OK Daddy.” I’m straining to catch every word.

“Preach the Word.

“Stay true to this Message.

“Take good care of your

“Mother when I’m gone.

“Take good care of the family.

“Take care of the family car.”

I promised him I would. We embraced. I thanked him and told him I loved him.

I spent my first night in Mom and Dad’s old bedroom.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 9, 2010 at 11:15 am

Posted in Family, Grief, Life

Private Sorrow – Part 5 “Day By Day”

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Part 5

Day by Day


Mocking birds awaken me. The smells of breakfast float down the hall inviting me. I clean up and dress. As I walk past Daddy’s room, I see he’s standing alone. His body looks uncomfortable all hunched over. He’s trying to use an electric razor.

The music is playing loud in his room. The voices are singing, “We’re Nearing The Shore.” It all sounds too real for me. I hurry down the hall.

After breakfast Dad sits by me on the couch. He finds my hand and clutches it firmly. He says in a faltering speech pattern, “You’ve been a good boy. Thank you for being faithful to God. You’ve stayed true to the message, and you’ve loved the truth.” I cried and thanked him. We hugged.

Daddy’s moments of lucidity became treasured memories. He always seemed lucid when He prayed.

Mom and I eat supper alone. Later she says tearfully, “I have no future. I have nothing to look forward to without him. Except heaven, of course. You know what I mean?” her glass come off and tears run freely. “It’s a valley we all must face,” [sniff] “but He’s faithful that promised.” The phone rang.

Mom wants me to go with her to find a funeral home, grave site and look for a church that would be able to hold a large crowd.

We sit around the table. Mom says, “If I let it, it would overwhelm me.” I play Sis Nona Freeman’s tape, ‘I Am My Beloved’s And He Is Mine.’ How precious and beautiful. We both cry, Mom sobs. When the tape is over, Mom is lost in praise and we talk in tongues for the longest. She says, “That’s exactly what I needed.”

I needed the message too, especially the part about dread. That was for me. We went to bed, it was midnight.


Nurse Cheryl visited Dad today. She checked his vitals and listed his condition as poor. Mom said he weighed 142. He’d lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks. I’d thought it was a slower process than that.

Nurse Kim comes, a portly lady with a cheery disposition. She comes three times a week to bathe Daddy and wash his hair, shave him and change the bed.

Mama says that the doctor told her that malnutrition and respiratory problems were the two biggest fears for someone in Daddy’s condition. While we are talking, Bro. Even’s calls back. Bro. Paul Jordan, one of Dad’s dearest friends, has died today. We can’t tell Daddy. We also decide that today is not a good day to shop for funeral homes and graveyards.

We eat lunch. Mom’s meals are mini-banquets for me. I’m staying stuffed. Malnutrition is not a personal fear for me today.


I arise about 6 am. Dad tries to open my door and come in. I open it for him and say, “Good morning Daddy.” He doesn’t respond to me. Mom rescues him and takes him to the restroom.

Mom called me into the front room. Both Mom and Dad were sitting on the couch side by side. His eyes were closed. Mom had just told him about Bro. Jordan.

I thought, “Oh no Mom, how could you?” (Old habits of confiding in your mate must be hard to break.) Tears streamed down both sides of Dad’s face.

The call from Indiana had said Bro. Jordan in his final moments had said he saw Jesus. And he saw Bro. Cavaness beside. Him. Mother relayed the message. Daddy screwed up his face and wept, leaning his head on her shoulder. “Tell them I’m only one or two steps behind them,” he said. Mama looked at me and mouthed the words. “Daddy knows he’s dying.”

At 1:30 we went to the doctor in Riverside. Weight loss was of major concern. The prostate cancer was not life threatening at this time. We are told to keep him hydrated. Mom is given a form for a Handicap parking sticker.

Driving home Dad said something I hadn’t been able to hear him say in a long time. “I love you Jesus.” It was said with such feeling and sincerity. It brought back many memories.

After supper, Dad wandered off into the office. Mom followed to lead him back out. She tried to take him in her arms in a romantic moment while enjoying the music of “Let me call you sweetheart.” She sang a few bars then all went silent. She left the room trying bravely to control the tears. Later, as she sat at the piano and played the song again, Daddy came out of the room smiling and unaware that Mom had been shattered by his unresponsiveness.

She asked him if he recalled the song. He said, “Yes. ‘Let Me Call You…’

“Call you what?” Mom prompted.

“Funny Face,” Daddy said.

During Mom’s piano playing, Dad got up a time or two and attempted to wander off. Mom said, “Carl don’t wander off.”

“I’m not wandering off, “ he responded.

“I’m playing these songs for you,” Mother continued.

Dad came back to the couch and sat down. I guess guilt still works on him. Mom continues playing and singing and asks Dad to sing. He weakly tries a few bars. (Mom told the doctor today that Dad never complains about anything.)

We haven’t made it to the funeral home yet.


At 9:30 am, Bro. Ted Molander came over to see dad. We visited with Dad while he lay in his bed.

The three of us prayed and talked in tongues for a while. Dad even prayed in Spanish for several minutes. Although it was his second language, I’d never heard him pray in Spanish. It was a special treat for me.

We tried to get a handicap permit at the DMV. We needed Dad’s signature. He signed it. Not too bad. Dad seems stronger and more aware today. Thank the Lord.

I called Marcia, she said the Bro. Fletcher had called my sisters and told them that the nurse told him that Dad’s heart was racing and his blood pressure dropping. The nurse said he wouldn’t last long like that.

As bedtime drew near, Mom asked Dad if he was ready to go to bed. He said yes. They slowly shuffle down the hall towards Dad’s room and his hospital bed.  Mother attempted to help him change into his pajamas. When she touched his belt, he grabbed her wrists firmly and said, “Woman, I’ll have you know I’m a Holiness preacher!”

He didn’t recognize her, but he’d never forgotten that he was a preacher.

Mother said, “Carl, let’s pray.”

They prayed. Somehow prayer always seemed to bring things closer back to “normal” for Dad.

Mom tearfully came back down the hall after Dad was in bed. She shed tears telling me what had just happened. She was in pain because he didn’t know her, yet she was happy that he knew he was a Holiness preacher.

We reassured each other, that while it was painful, it was kind of funny too. We hugged and laughed.


I have been up an hour or so and have been in bed writing. Daddy comes into my room and sits on the end of the bed.

He says, “Who can I talk too?”

I said, “Well, you can talk to me Dad, what do you want to talk about?”

Dad said, “My wife is crazy.”

I said, “Crazy?”

He said, “Yeah, she’s crazy.”

I said, “No Dad, she’s not crazy, she just doing everything she can to make your life comfortable and take care of you.”

He said, “All she’s after is my money.”

I said, “Daddy, you don’t have hardly any money. All she has, she spends it on you.”

“God bless that good woman,” Dad said as he left the room.

Dad seemed more belligerent today. Several times when Mom tried to help his he’d say, “Woman I rebuke you in Jesus Name.” Mom came into my room upset and I tried to comfort her.

Later we smelt something burning. Dad had turned the top burner of the stove on. A cookie sheet was on the burner, it was red hot. Dad will have to be watched.


I sit in the living room enjoying morning coffee while I talk with Mom. Dad enters the room behind her and gently swatted her on the backside. Mom jumped, her eyes widened as she gave a half-embarrassed smile. She gave Daddy a good morning hug.

My sister Ramona and her son Clint arrive. It is so good to see them. She is always a pillar of strength.

Mom prepares a world-class breakfast for us all. At the table, we held hands as usual and all kind of looked around to see who would be the one to pray. Dad began without prompting. He did a very good job. Well, except where he asked God’s help with the song we were about to sing. None of us smiled. We keep the chatter light while we catch up on each other’s lives.


Mom hurries down the hall. “If you want to hear Daddy praying, come quick.” I do. He’s praying the sweetest prayer. His voice is pretty strong and that is unusual. He also makes very good sense in his prayer. He’s saying very sweet and precious things to Jesus.

When done he opens his eyes and sees Ramona. He takes her hand and starts praying for her. I go get the tape recorder. His prayer makes us all tear up. Him too. Mom comes in and he takes her hand. He prays for Mom and talks in tongues often. His voice tires and becomes less clear.

Mom later tried to leave the room. He said he didn’t want Mom to leave because he was in the presence of angels. Ramona asked him what they looked like. His answer was unclear and mumbled.

Today as I sit in the living room looking at Dad and Ramona on the couch, I know our days of meaningful communication are over. How sad! It makes me think of all my precious children.

When I think of all the times I’ve been a lousy father, (even unintentionally) and made their lives unpleasant, I hurt. I want their memories of me to be treasured like the ones I have of my Dad.

Today I feel like a failure as a father. Life is getting away too fast and I’m doing too little. There are things I want to say to my children. I need to take time and do it  and say it now.

I’ve always told Daddy I loved him and have been affectionate with him. I have no regret there. I just hope that all my children can somehow see through my coarse ways and know that I love them. I need help in knowing how to correct and guide them with love. How did my Dad do all that with me? I try to remember. I want, under God, to be the best dad that I can be.

I’d come here to see my Dad. I didn’t expect this visit to make me look inward. I guess God knows what tools to use to open our eyes and our hearts.


It’s time to go. I am going to drive Ramona’s car back to Indiana. Carlene is buying it. When I am done packing, Mom awakens Daddy from his nap. He comes into the room.

Mom say, “Daddy our boy is leaving. He has to go home”

I hug his neck and kiss him on both cheeks. He holds me in a long embrace while he prays for me. He asks God to make me a “keystone” in the salvation of others.

I tell him I love him and that he’s been the best Daddy in the world. Dad, Mom and I hug in a threesome. Then Mom and I kiss and say goodbye. By much unsaid, it’s said.

Mom and Dad come outside on the porch to see me off. I stand by the car door ready to leave. Mom and Dad wave at me. Dad’s last words to me were: “I want to see you in the rapture!”

I teared up and Mom started to cry.

“I want to see you in the rapture too,” I said!

Leaving was too painful for words.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 9, 2010 at 11:11 am

Posted in Family, Grief, Life

Private Sorrow – Part 6 “The Epilogue”

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Part 6


On my journey home, I drive through Joplin, MO and visit with my friends the Garrett’s. I called Mom to let her know I was OK.

She said Daddy was stronger and doing better today. Mom said that he’d walked all around the house today like he was looking for something. She said, “What are you looking for Carl?”

He said, “I’m looking for my boy.”

I had a wonderful time with the Brother and Sister Garrett. They’re such precious people. Sister Garrett said something to me that helped put everything in perspective. She said, “Maybe your Dad’s condition has allowed you to enjoy some benefits you’d never gotten if he’s died suddenly. Like the precious things he said to you, the charge he gave you, telling you that you’ve been a good boy, and that he wanted to see you in the rapture.”

She was right. With lemons, there can also be lemonade. I counted my blessings and thanked the Lord for cherished memories.

Daddy went home to be with the Lord, September 11, 1994

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 9, 2010 at 11:08 am

Posted in Family, Grief, Life

The House Of The Lady With The Long Hair

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The House Of The Lady With The Long Hair

Last night, I finished preaching the 1st night of Raleigh, North Carolina’s annual “Holiness Conference”.  As I was stepping down from the platform, a tall brother in Christ made his way to me. “I have a Holiness story for you, he offered.

“A few nights ago, our doorbell rang. It was dark and I couldn’t imagine who would be at our door this late.  He said.

“To my surprise, a little boy stood there, his eyes were red from crying. He was visibly shaken. His voice was strong as he said, ‘Please mister, do something. My Dad is hurting my Mom real bad! Call the Police…. Help her, please!’

About that that time, the sound of sirens was heard. Patrol cars were everywhere. Red and blue flashing lights interrupted the darkness.

The out of control, and abusive husband was taken into custody. The mother’s physical needs were being attended to.

He said, “I turned to the little boy and said, ‘I don’t live next door to you. Of all the houses in this neighborhood, why did you come to mine when you needed help?

“The little boy looked up into my face and said, “I just knew, that if I could make it to The House of The Lady with the Long Hair, everything would be alright!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 3, 2010 at 9:58 pm

When To Keep Your Mouth Shut!

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When To Keep Your Mouth Shut

Proverbs 21:23 (KJV) Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

1. In the Heat of Anger

  • Psalm 116:11 (KJV) I said in my haste, All men are liars.

2. When You Don’t Have All The Facts

  • Proverbs 18:13 (KJV) He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

3. If Your Words Make Your Family, Friends or Church Look Bad

  • James 3:6 (KJV) And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

4. When You Are Tempted To Make Light Of Holy Things

  • Matthew 22:5 (KJV) But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

5. If You Think You Might Regret Your Words Later

  • Proverbs 6:2 (KJV) Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
  • Proverbs 14:1 (KJV) Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

6. When You Are Tempted To Tell At Lie

  • Revelation 21:8 (KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)
  • 16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
  • 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
    18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
    19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

7. If You Can’t Speak Without Yelling

  • Proverbs 15:1 (KJV) A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

8. When It’s Time To Listen

  • James 1:19 (KJV) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

9. If You’ve Already Said It Once Before. (Anymore becomes nagging.)

10. .If You KNOW That You Talk Too Much.

  • Proverbs 10:19 (KJV) In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

11.If Your Words Are Meant To Get Even Or To Give Someone A “Piece Of Your Mind”

  • Proverbs 15:1 (KJV) A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

12. If You Know It Will Cause Argument Or Debate

  • 2 Timothy 2:23 (KJV) But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

13. If You Know That WHAT You’re Saying Can Hinder Revival In Your Church.

  • Galatians 5:15 (KJV) But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

14. If Your Words Will Offend A Weak Brother

  • 1 Corinthians 8:11-13 (KJV)
    11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
    12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
    13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

15.When You’re Tempted To Make A Joke About Sin

  • Proverbs 14:9 (KJV) Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

16. When The Subject Is None Of Your Business

  • 1 Peter 4:15 (KJV) But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.2 Thessalonians 3:11 (KJV) For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

17. If Your Words Will Damage Another’s Reputation Or Character

  • Proverbs 16:27 (KJV) An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.Proverbs 18:8 (KJV) The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

18.If Your Words Will Damage A Friendship

  • Proverbs 17:9 (KJV) He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

19. When You’re Feeling Critical

  • James 3:9-10 (KJV)
  • 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
    10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

20. When We May Later Have To Eat Our Words

  • Proverbs 18:21 (KJV) Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
  • Matthew 12:37 (KJV) For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

21.If Your Speech Is Not Consistent With Godly Living.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 2, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Christian Living